Adapting the Marine Stewardship Council risk-based framework to estimate impacts on seabirds, marine mammals, marine turtles and sea snakes

Information available on impacts of fisheries on target or bycatch species varies greatly, requiring development of risk assessment tools to determine potentially unacceptable levels. Seabirds, marine mammals, marine turtles and sea snakes are particularly vulnerable given their extreme life histories, and data are often lacking on their populations or bycatch rates with which to quantify fisheries impacts. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) use a semi-quantitative Productivity Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) that is applicable to all species, target and non-target, to calculate risk of impact and to provide a score for relevant Performance Indicators for fisheries undertaking certification. The most recent MSC Fisheries Standard Review provided an opportunity to test the appropriateness of using this tool and whether it was sufficiently precautionary for seabirds, marine mammals and reptiles . The existing PSA was tested on a range of species and fisheries and reviewed in relation to literature on these species groups. New taxa-specific PSAs were produced and then reviewed by taxa-specific experts and other relevant stakeholders (e.g., assessors, fisheries managers, non-governmental conservation organizations). The conclusions of the Fishery Standard Review process were that the new taxa-specific PSAs were more appropriate than the existing PSA for assessing fisheries risk for seabirds, marine mammals and reptiles, and that, as intended, they resulted in precautionary outcomes. The taxa-specific PSAs provide useful tools for true data-deficient fisheries to assess relative risk of impact. Where some data are available, the MSC could consider developing or adapting other approaches to support robust and relevant risk assessments.


Publication status:
Authors: Good, Stephanie D., Dewar, Kate, Burns, Polly, Sainsbury, Keith, Phillips, Richard A., Wallace, Bryan P., Fortuna, Caterina, Udyawer, Vinay, Robson, Bruce, Melvin, Edward F., Currey, Rohan J.C.

On this site: Richard Phillips
1 May, 2024
Marine Policy / 163
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